At my school there are valedictorian auditions. About twenty or so seniors with decent grades who seem like they have something to say are nominated, then they write their speech and audition it to a panel of staff. The best speech and the best speaker win.
I like this. It makes a lot more sense than just telling the smartest kid in the school to write a speech. And I was thrilled when I was nominated to audition, because well, I’m a writer and I tend to have something to say about most things.
The problem is, I think what I have to say is not what the panel wants to hear. In fact, it’s probably not what my graduating class wants to hear. At the nomination meeting we were told that this was supposed to be a fond goodbye to our school and a reflection on the last three years of our lives that we’ve spent together. That’s a nice thought, but that’s not what I want to tell my classmates.
I want to tell them exactly the opposite, actually. I want to tell them that, in the grand scheme of our lives, the last three years don’t matter at all. Who you are in high school is not who you have to be for your whole life. People want to make this big deal out of it, but honestly, it’s a blip on the radar. Talk to anybody over the age of nineteen; I’ll bet not one person will say that they miss high school.
So maybe I’m not the right person for this speech. I just can’t bear to spout platitudes about “lasting memories” and junk, when I personally feel that it’s a load of hooey.
The thing is, I feel like perhaps the only thing worse than being the person spouting hooey would be to listen to someone else do it.